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Published: August 5th 2008
***Sorry to confuse....Pics from this and the Halong Bay blog are the wrong way round....ooooppss!!*** (Shouldn't try to be clever after too many beers!!)
Ok so we experienced our first Vietnamese scam while jumping on the bus to get here, Let me explain: when we arrived at the bus station in Hanoi the bus for Mai Chau was just leaving (and so we didnt have time to check any deatails on price etc) so we quickly jumped on without hesitation........ on the bus were 3 American girls (who had only just began thier travels) who told us that they had made friends with the Vietnamese boy sitting in front of us who had told them that he was paying 70,000 dong therefore the price was set for all us foriegers they paid so we had to really!!!!!....... So the scam goes like this: Vietnamese boy befriends stupid american girls pretends he has friends where they come from has a joke and a giggle and gains thier trust...... tells them the price is 70,000 so makes the bus conducter a big fat personal profit so rides for free (I only realised when he passed the boy while collecting
the money) . when he gets off the girls shout "Thank you, thanks for your help" and then say to each other how lovely he was!!!! muppets !!!(Doesn't seem like a lot of money to worry about, but it's the principle of the matter!)........... This awakend the sleepy self defense barrier inside us that makes us certain we will not let this happen again...... (check out the blog after this for the full story on when they tried to scam us again)
Anyway arrived at Mai Chau.............wow what a lovely quiet sleepy Vietamese village this is, rice fields as far as the eyes can see limestone mountains, cattle, caves and of course village brew (Bia Hoi) 3000 dong a pint (Approximately 9p!) bargain and classic old 'White Thai Tribe villages'......!!
Nic - A long, hot "cargo ride" later......The bus seemed to be the only transport going that route and so nearly every business along the way had a huge amount of stock to load and unload along the way!...and we found ourselves in the most amazing surroundings - as Dan has already mentioned. We made our way out of the modern town and into the traditional homes of
the White Thai people......they live amidst the lush and vibrant green paddie fields in wodden houses on stilts, really beautiful and the best way to keep the family cool in the sweltering heat of summer....and also dry in the pelting rains of the wet season when the paddie fields inevitably flood. There also seemed to be one more reason for the stilts, which we could never have imagined before our stay......
...One evening, after the hostest day, a storm rumbled in. The amount of rain that fell was phenominal and as we went to bed an almighty row kicked off all around us..........Every bug in the area seemed to have converged on our house, they sang in chorus and one group of noise was joined by another and then another.....and then the frogs began to join in!!!........It really was the noisiest night, and most bazarre feeling, knowing that they were all so close - Thank goodness for the stilts which kept us out of their reach!
We spent a nice couple of days here just mooching around and taking in the scenery and making the most of the serenity after crazy Hanoi.....and after a long hot day of
walking the pefect reward was the Bia Hoi, as Dan already mentioned!
Unfortunately we're still having to watch the clock a bit and are on quite a tight schedule for Vietnam and so we soon had to leave for the next adventure......Halong Bay, to follow!
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